Can we mashup pollution data onto OpenStreetMap in realtime?

Sometimes a fantastic idea hits you in a millisecond and that’s just happened to me at Coffee in the Chemistry Department. I happened to bump into Mark Calleja (who is part of our eScience (eMinerals) collaboration) and he told me about their latest project (Cambridge Mobile Urban Sensing)

CamMobSens is the Cambridge end of the MESSAGE project, a collaboration between Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Leeds University, Newcastle University and Southampton University. In Cambridge we mount sensors on pedestrians and cyclists to monitor pollution and send back the information to a website as soon as it is gathered.

graphics1Carbon Monoxide (CO)


Nitric Oxide (NO)

Team members:

Prof. Jean Bacon, Department of Computer Science         
Dr. Mark Calleja, Cambridge eScience Centre
Mark Hayes, Cambridge eScience Centre
Prof. Rod Jones, Department of Chemistry

Prof. Peter Landshoff, Department of Applied Mathematics
Dr. Iq Mead, Department of Chemistry
Michael Simmons, Cambridge eScience Centre
Dr. Eiman Kanjo, Department of Applied Mathematics

Now anyone who knows anything about will immediately make the connection as I did. OSM has been built by the voluntary efforts of zillions of pedestrians and cyclists who have used GPS to map the world. They’ve now built the best map of Cambridge and at least one has cycled every street.

Mark and colleagues need volunteers to go out and monitor pollution on a regular basis. The technical aspects are solved a mobile phone in one pocket and a sensor in the other emitting Bluetooth. The signal is routed to satellites and then to an Openly accessible database run by the project. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions of the project.

So I’ve asked Mark if I can be first on the list for the kit volunteer activity starts in late summer. I cycle every day down East Road (at the top left of the CO picture). It must be one of the most polluted roads (although the bus station is worst).

So I am appealing to OSM volunteers IN CAMBRIDGE to contact Mark. (The idea is clearly adaptable to other cities but we shouldn’t overwhelm the project at this stage). If you know how to spread the word in the OSM and similar communities, please do so. There is no technical reason which this couldn’t rapidly spread just as OSM has done.

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4 Responses to Can we mashup pollution data onto OpenStreetMap in realtime?

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  2. Pingback: Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - The Guardian highlights the eScience pollution project « petermr’s blog

  3. Grant says:

    Join the IRC #osm channel on OFTC (via ) or Sign up to the list and ask your question there.
    Or just use the OpenStreetMap tiles to overlay your information.

    • pm286 says:

      @Grant YES. Everyone should join OSM. It’s not just about coordinates, it’s also about streetnames, buildings, etc. You don’t have to be a geek to help.

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